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Putin puts in his all on mission

Russian President and outdoorsman Vladimir Putin is off on another adventure, visiting the cave of Arctic Pilots Glacier on the Russian island of Alexandra Land.

On a tour of the Franz Josef Land archipelago, a sprawling collection of islands where the Russian military has recently built a new runway and worked to open a permanent base, Mr Putin on Wednesday emphasised the need to protect Russia's economic and security interests in the Arctic, reported the Associated Press.

"Natural resources, which are of paramount importance for the Russian economy, are concentrated in this region," he said in remarks carried by Russian news agencies.

He added that the value of the Arctic's mineral riches was estimated to be US$30 trillion (S$41.8 trillion).

According to a Reuters report, the visit coincides with the opening of an international forum on Arctic development, which took place in the Russian city of Arkhangelsk, near the Arctic Circle.

On the second day of the two-day event yesterday, Mr Putin said he would be ready to meet United States President Donald Trump at an upcoming summit of Arctic countries in Finland in September, if the talks are properly prepared.

More than 2,400 delegates took part in the high-profile Arkhangelsk gathering, which focused on the prospects of developing the inhospitable region.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 31, 2017, with the headline 'Putin puts in his all on mission'. Print Edition | Subscribe